Important Business Analyst Skills for Workplace Success

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Professional business analysts can play a critical role in a company's productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Business analyst jobs are well paying, and have a strong outlook—these jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 14%, which is higher than average.

If you're looking for a job in this competitive field, you'll need to have the right skill set. Take a look at some of the skills hiring managers seek for business analyst applicants, along with tips for how to use this list of business analyst skills to enhance your application and shine during interviews. 

What Are Business Analyst Skills? 

There is a wide range of essential skills you'll need as a business analyst, from communication skills to computer skills, and much more. Business analysts can hone their skills through executive education programs and eventually earn a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) certification from the International Institute of Business Analysis.

Core Skills Business Analysts Need

There are a handful of abilities that are truly fundamental for business analysts. Take a look at these core skills required by this role: 

Communicating

Business analysts spend a significant amount of time interacting with clients, users, management, and developers. Therefore, being an effective communicator is key. You will be expected to facilitate work meetings, ask the right questions, and actively listen to your colleagues to take in new information and build relationships. A project's success may revolve around your ability to communicate things like project requirements, changes, and testing results. 

In your interview, focus on your ability to communicate proficiently in person, on conference calls, in meetings both digitally and otherwise, and through email. 

TIP: Plan ahead, and have an example ready that demonstrates how being an effective communicator has served former employers well.

Problem-Solving

Every project you work on is, at its core, developing a solution to a problem. Business analysts work to build a shared understanding of problems, outline the parameters of the project, and determine potential solutions. Here again, it will be helpful if you can share examples of your problem-solving skills in action. 

Negotiating

A business analyst is an intermediary between a variety of people with various types of personalities: clients, developers, users, management, and information technology (IT). You have to be able to achieve a profitable outcome for your company while finding a solution for the client that makes them happy. 

This balancing act demands the ability to influence a mutual solution and maintain professional relationships.

Critical Thinking

Business analysts must assess multiple choices before leading the team toward a solution. Effectively doing so requires a critical review of data, documentation, user input surveys, and workflow. 

Business analysts ask probing questions until every issue is evaluated in its entirety to determine the best conflict resolution.

Business Analyst Skills List

Besides the core skills, employers will also be looking for more general skills and attributes.

Personal Attributes

Sought-after personal attributes include adaptability and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with cross-functional teams. You should also hone analytical thinking, attention to detail, and creativity. Business analysts are also equipped with strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask, and the ability to be an assertive, diplomatic leader. How many of these valued attributes have you cultivated? Where are there gaps?

Interpersonal/Communication Skills

You will need strong interpersonal and communication skills to help your team work together and to provide good service. Such skills include facilitating meetings, giving presentations, resolving conflict, and the ability to both negotiate and influence others. Below are additional valued skills in this arena:

Computer Skills

As a business analyst, you’ll need to be able to use many types of software, from the popular Microsoft Office Suite, to less common packages, like SharePoint, Visio, and Software Design Tools. You will need to stay abreast of new developments in relevant IT as well. Some programs you'll often use are: 

  • Microsoft Office programs (Access, Excel, Project, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • SharePoint
  • Software Design Tools
  • SQL Queries
  • Visio

Analytical Skills

Of course, a business analyst needs analytical tools, for the efficient designing and implementing of processes for forecasting and gap analysis. The other skills necessary to be a successful business analysis are as follows:

  • Data review
  • Designing and implementing tests of processes
  • Documentation
  • Eliciting and specifying project requirements
  • Financial planning
  • Forecasting
  • Gap analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Process mapping/modeling
  • Project management
  • Quantitative/qualitative research
  • Reporting
  • Risk assessment
  • Statistical analysis
  • Technical integration
  • Validating functionality
  • Visualizations

How to Use Skills Lists

Add Your Most Relevant Skills to Your Resume: The closer a match your credentials are to what the employer is looking for, the better your chances of getting hired. Don’t assume hiring supervisors know you have what they want. 

Highlight Your Skills in Your Cover Letter: In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give specific examples of times when you demonstrated those skills at work. 

Match Skills to the Job Posting: When you find a job that appeals to you, read the job description thoroughly and research the company. That way, you will know what to highlight in your cover letter, based on what the business values.

Use Skill Words During Job Interviews: This helps to reinforce that you have the skills demanded for the role. 

The interviewer will want you to elaborate on the skills you bring to the table, so choose three or four that relate to the position itself and be ready to share a few stories which showcase your qualifications. It also may help to review the skills listed by job and types of skills.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Management Analysts." Accessed Aug. 28, 2020. 

  2. International Institute of Business Analysis. "Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®)." Accessed Aug. 28, 2020.